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Minnesota Basketball Early Season Statistical Trends

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We look at some areas of concern through four games.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Franklin Pierce and UMBC Summaries

As both of these games were on BTN+ I missed both of them. GopherNation had excellent summaries of the Franklin Pierce and UMBC games here and here.

Instead of giving score distributions, or breakdowns, below is a heatmap showing a variety of offensive statistics through the first four games. FGA is the percentage of team's shots, and the rest are normal percentages.

Among starters, the shot distribution is pretty even. Andre Hollins leads the team in shot attempts with Carlos Morris hot on his heels.

Early Season Trends

SMALL SAMPLE SIZE WARNING

Currently, Kendal Shell leads the Gophers in FGA/40 minutes and is 3rd on the team in PER/40 minutes. With that in mind, let's look at some early trends that may become concerning over the rest of the season.

Free Throws

The most obvious is Free Throw shooting. The Gophers are 51 for 90 in their trips to the line this season. Minnesota has not shot better than 61% in their first four games. The 61% game was against Louisville when there were actual airplanes taking off less than 100 meters from the basketball court. In a perfect world, every player would be Ray Allen, but even in the world we live in it's not too much to ask for at least 75% from the line. A 15 foot uncontested set shot is not difficult. In addition, missing the front end of 1 and 1 opportunities gives away points.

Three Point Shooting

The Gophers should be an above average 3-point shooting team. Nate Mason has been a nice surprise, and Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu are both excellent shooters. Joey King, who is currently in a terrible slump, has the capability to be a stretch 4. Carlos Morris when not in full chucker mode has a good shot. Nonetheless, the Gophers are 252nd in the country in 3-point percentage.

Minnesota has built a large portion of its offense around the 3 ball. From a trend perspective, what's frustrating is that the team has generally gotten open looks. As mentioned above, Joey King is going through a problematic stretch. The nice thing about math is that a team only has to make one out of every three shots from 3 to be the equivalent of a 50% shooting team from 2.


Transition Defense

Transition points are defined as points that are scored within the first 10 seconds of a possession. They are almost always the result of a turnover or a team not getting back on defense. Through four games, Minnesota's opponents are scoring almost 29% of their points in transition. Obviously, one of those teams (Louisville) is different than the other three, but the percentage hasn't dramatically changed against any opponent.